Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strategic Power of the Theory of Trying

The “Theory of Trying” is a useful psychological approach for thinking about advertising. Many of our daily actions are about repetitive attempts to improve our lives. Dieting, exercise, athletic skill, mental acuity… these are but a few areas where it seems we try and try again.

The Theory of Trying includes such factors as our attitudes toward success, attitudes toward failure, attitudes toward the very act of trying itself, knowledge about the specific actions needed for success, and abilities to measure success.

The more carefully we “break down” the process of trying, the greater is our ability to think strategically about campaigns that can help improve our odds of success.

Now, one reason we don’t conserve enough electricity day-to-day is that we don’t have immediate feedback about our success. Sure we get a monthly power bill. But how much better can we be if we can see the immediate energy consumption consequences of what we do?

The latest work from npower, one of Europe’s leading energy companies, employs the storytelling charm of Wallace and Gromit, but the power in the commercial comes from the Theory of Trying.

In this commercial, Wallace and Gromit introduce us to the “smart power meter,” that can help us avoid “The Revenge of the Killer Watts.”

Attitude Toward the Ad is certainly at work here, but the power of this commercial comes from clever naming of the consequences of failure, “Killer Watts,” and showing us how to measure our success.

For more perspective on psychological theory and the development of persuasive arguments in advertising, please see Strategic Power of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

Copyright © 2010 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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